Scoular reported hit by $17M fraud

Reuters — Scoular Co., a U.S. grain trading and handling firm, was swindled out of more than US$17 million through an international email scheme, a company official confirmed on Wednesday.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the fraud, which took place in June, a company spokesperson said in a telephone interview.

The Omaha World-Herald newspaper reported the fraud on Wednesday. According to the paper, Scoular sent a total of $17.2 million (C$21.6 million) through three wire transfers in June to a bank in China, acting on emails sent to a Scoular executive.

The emails appeared to be from Scoular CEO Chuck Elsea and the Omaha-based company’s auditing firm.

Court documents said the emails were generated by impostors using email addresses set up in Germany, France and Israel and computer servers in Moscow, according to the newspaper.

The Scoular spokesperson, who did not want to be identified by name, said it was possible the company might recover some of the money.

But even without any recovery, the employee-owned company, which has about US$6 billion in annual revenues, has been able to absorb the loss, the spokesperson said.

Scoular has tightened internal systems and controls, the spokesperson said.

Reporting for Reuters by Carey Gillam in Kansas City.

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